I was thinking this past week about the contrast between a crowd and the Church.  Do you know how to tell the difference between these two gatherings of people?  It is not as simple as you might think.  Simplistic thinking would say that church gathers in a church building and crowds gather in other locations.  It is important to know the difference because as Christ followers we are the Church – but sometimes we can easily find ourselves acting more like part of the crowd.

Here are 5 differences between being in the crowd and being the Church:

  • Crowds are Unconnected, the Church is Unified – a crowd of people gathers without having a common bond that connects them. They might be at a concert enjoying the same band, or at a rally supporting the same cause…but at the core the people are not connected.  The Church however is a group of people who at their core are united by the common bond of Christ.
  • Crowds show up to See Something, the Church shows up to Do Something – people show up in a crowd because there is something drawing their attention. Whether it is meaningful or simply entertainment the common draw is to sit back and watch.  The Church in contrast shows up to do something of spiritual or redemptive value.  The Church shows up to worship and glorify God.  The Church shows up to live out Kingdom realities here on earth.
  • Crowds Come and Go, the Church Endures – If an event is good enough it will pull a crowd. If a cause is sexy enough it will elicit a crowd.  If the entertainment is quality a crowd will form.  In the end a crowd will disperse.  The Church on the other hand has been going since you took your first breath and will continue on well beyond what your mind can comprehend.
  • People in a crowd seek to Be First, people in the Church seek to put Others First – In a crowd the goal is to be in the front, to have the best seat or at least be ahead of as many people as possible. In the Church we seek to promote others, serve others and make much of those around us.
  • Crowds encourage people to Blend-In, the Church encourages people to Stand Out – Crowds tend to cultivate uniformity in the people. Be a part of the mass, blend in and conform.  The Church encourages people to discover their unique gifting, passion and personality and stand out as the person God created him/her to be.

While there are differences between a crowd and the church, don’t fall into thinking a crowd is a bad thing.  Crowds aren’t bad…Jesus had a crowd!  Just don’t think of yourself as part of the church and then act like you are part of the crowd. (click to tweet) 

The two are not mutually exclusive.  You can be part of the Church but act more like a crowd, you can also be in a crowd but be the Church. (click to tweet)

When we gather in a church building on the weekend we can engaging like the Church or default towards acting like a part of the crowd.  When I am at work, or out in the community or even in my own home I have the ability to reflect my identity as part of the Church or act like just another part of the crowd.

My question for each of us today is this: Am I living like a part of the crowd or living like the Church? (click to tweet)